by | Apr 1, 2016 | Imports, Markets

No fooling: if you favor plain vanilla, your ice cream cone may cost you more this summer, thanks to pricey vanilla beans.

Blame it on last year’s bad crop in Madagascar.

As Eater reports, demand for vanilla (among spices, second only to saffron in price) is up while available supplies, already limited because of the poor Madagascan harvest, are dwindling.

As our data shows, most vanilla imported by the US comes from Madagascar.

Pricey Vanilla Beans - US Vanilla Imports Countries of Origin 2015

When last we covered a sharp uptick in vanilla prices, Uganda looked to be gaining share … in 2011, 10% of US vanilla imports came from Uganda [see Vanilla Price Watch]. Alas (for Uganda), vanilla prices stabilized, Uganda production faltered, and Uganda’s vanilla exports to the US fell 46% in 2012. Indonesia’s and India’s shares have also slipped.

With the US reliant on Madagascar for its vanilla, it’s easy to connect the dots from low supply to high demand to  pricey vanilla beans … and a costlier vanilla ice cream cone this summer.

Pricey Vanilla Beans - US Vanilla Imports from Madagascar 2011-2015 Value-Volume


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